The building is situated on
the north side of the site. It covers 1550 m² of the archeological
There are two main structural walls on both sides of the remains, to
preserve them and to consolidate the existing retaining wall. The
structure of the deck is a continuous system of 18.5m span girders
installed on longitudinal cross beams . This construction system is
interrupted where voids and openings are needed. Therefore another
structural deck system is provided and the structure is suspended
from major beams in the roof level.
The median vertical cores and structures were located inside the
site only where the bedrock was reached during the British Museum
excavations and where no major remains are found. A footbridge is
designed inside the archeological crypt, to provide visitors with a
general overview of the remains as they enter, and then a closer
view of the details on the way back.
The Site Museum is
accessible through a piazza on the road connecting the land castle
to the sea castle of Saida. The piazza is designed in this location
to open up the urban landscape, animating the street from one side,
and connecting the new city with the old city on the other side, as
defined in the urban analysis.
The main elevation follows the same proportions and dimensions of
the city skyline. Looking from the new city side, the project has a
continuously integrated façade, while looking from the old city
side, the non-elevated vertical volumes prepare the transition from
the old to the new city.
The old fence of the “college des frères” and the related main gate
were preserved, even though the museum has been aligned with the
street; the upper levels protrude from the building to ensure this
alignment, to allow space for technical areas, to provide shadow on
the exhibitions external vertical surfaces, and finally to form a
double skin system for energy saving.
Competing alongside international and local firms to work on the
project, Khatib & Alami was awarded the Old Saida Archeological Site
Museum, due to the company’s profound understanding of heritage and
knowledge about the preservation and conservation of historical
buildings and sites.
The lobby of the museum is directly accessible from the covered
piazza, where visitors can gather before entering. They can benefit
from the adjacent cafeteria services before or after the visit. The
cafeteria occupies the ground floor of the existing 19th-century DGA
house. The distribution hall leads to the permanent exhibition that
is connected to the site and is part of the complementary museum
It also leads to the temporary exhibition and the other cultural
activities located on the upper level. This area is connected to the
service core for maintenance and preservation purposes, as well as
to the temporary exhibition preparations.